I get lots of questions about mix bus compression. (i.e. Putting a compressor plugin on your master fader)

So I’ve put together a brief FAQ for ya

Q: Should I use a compressor on my mix bus?

A: It’s not required, but using compression on the mix bus (when done correctly) can really help glue the mix together.

If you have a good understanding of how a compressor works, go for it.

If compression is still confusing for you, I recommend not using compression on your mix bus until you’re more comfortable using a compressor.

[For more training on compression, check out:www.UnderstandingCompression.com]

Q: What settings should I use?

A: As with most things, it depends. But a good starting place is to use a 2:1 ratio, slow attack, a fairly quick release, and only a few dB of gain reduction.

Go aggressive on individual tracks. Go conservative on the mix bus.

Q: Should I deactivate the compressor before bouncing/exporting my mix?


The whole point of using a bus compressor is to help pull your mix together. Getting rid of it before you bounce/export or send the mix off for mastering defeats the whole purpose.

Q: Where can I learn more about mix bus compression specifically?

A: This past Friday I posted a new video inside the VIP members area where I cover my technique for using bus compression.

Subscription info:



Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner